We have all grown up gulping down glasses of milk and hearing about tons of its benefits. However, as concerned modern parents do you wonder if milk is really important for preschoolers and how much milk should be included in their daily diet?
In their early years, right nutrition is important for healthy growth, development and to supply energy for all the games and fun. But most fussy eaters don’t want anything to do with milk, and it becomes more difficult when they phase out of weaning from feeding bottles.
This quick guide will tell you why nutrient dense milk should be a part of the kid’s healthy diet.
Our parents have been saying “Drink your milk”, for reasons that experts support –
- Rich sources of calcium are needed for stronger teeth and bones.
- Nutritionally rich including vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, sodium, and potassium.
- High-quality protein source.
- Milk fats and carbs provide physical growth, brain and eye health, and energy.
How much is enough?
At the age of 3-4 years, children need 1.5 serving of milk for right nutrition and balance.
A serving typically includes a cup of milk or 2 cheese slices or 200gms of curd.
Daily consumption should, however, be limited to 500ml (2 large cups) because excessive intake can easily build up on the number of calories. With the danger of obesity lurking over young kids, too many calories from a single source is not advisable. Parents should aim to include more variety foods, from the food pyramid for complete nutrition and right balance. Secondly, excess calcium can also make the absorption of iron difficult for the body.
Also, remember, toddlers by the age of 3 outgrow the need to drink again in the middle of the night.
What kind of cow’s milk?
There are different variants of milk available in markets today including whole (full fat), toned, double toned and slim milk.
Prefer toned milk for your toddlers, rather than full-fat or fat-free milk. Slim milk does not contain fat or protein required for right nourishment. Fats are required for healthy development of brain and body.
Are processed and long-life milk safe?
The milk available mostly in tetra-packaging is processed for longer shelf-life, is perfectly safe for consumption by a 3-year old. However, one should be sure to refrigerate it after opening and consume within 2-3 days of opening.
Less than 3 percent of kids worldwide are allergic to milk. Symptoms usually include abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting. In severe cases where the respiratory system gets affected, symptoms such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, rash, hives or facial swelling are visible. Seek immediate medical attention and carefully avoid milk and milk products in future.
If your child does not like the flavor of milk there is a bunch of healthy ways like adding drink mixes or cereal to encourage. Include more milk products in the diet like cheese, paneer, and curd, to meet their nutrient requirements.